Thursday, 29 November 2012

illustrated packing list

This Friday will mark four weeks until we fly to New York and so I thought it was time to start thinking about what I'm going to pack. But, rather than just making a list, I drew one, an illustrated packing list. They started when I first went off to uni (just over 8 years ago!) and I've been drawing them ever since – mostly when packing for holidays. I've found that by drawing what I'm going to take I pack more efficiently, planning outfits etc. Perhaps that sounds a little OCD-esque but space is precious in a suitcase. For example, when I went to Greece a couple of years ago I didn't draw out my list and ended up taking hardly any clothes (luckily we had access to a washing machine otherwise I would have been pretty screwed). I figured that others may do the same thing (some people just work better from images rather than words) although I'd never really thought about it, so when this little gem appeared on Pinterest a while ago it made me smile.

It's by painter Adolf Konrad and depicts his packing list from a trip taken in Dec 1973. Incidentally the list appears in a rather excellent looking book called Lists, To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collective Thoughts and Other Artists' Enumerations... Upon deciding to write this post I had a root around to see if I could find any of my past illustrated packing lists and found three: my 2008 trip to Spain which required much planning - 5 days camping at Benicassim festival followed by two nights in Barcelona; my trip to Albania; and lastly the list I made (but never completed - hence why some of my stuff is still at my parents nearly 3 years later) when I first moved in with Mitch. They're quite fun to look back on.

This is what my New York one looks like at the moment but it's just a preliminary list as I need to see how heavy it'll be (and some of it still needs to be purchased)!

Do you plan your packing? I'd love to know if there's any more illustrated list makers out there...

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tuesday's Tees - LWL @ ASOS

Today's second instalment of tee magic.
The excellent film magazine, Little White Lies, has teamed up with fashion label 55DSL to create 5 graphic tees - you can buy em off ASOS. note: they only seem to have them in the men's section but that's never stopped me and it shouldn't stop you ;)

Tuesday's Tees - ALL SAINTS

Although they stock some of the most expensive tees I've ever seen these six from All Saints are rather fab.

Friday, 23 November 2012

good distractions #2

It's been a slow and uneventful week which means I've been easily distracted...mostly by these lovely things.

This fabric - Centre City by FreeSpirit. These super graphic and abstract prints were inspired by the essence of some of America's most well-know cities including LA, New York, Portland and Palm Springs. Each city is available in three different colour ways (The New York Midtown print is my favourite - top right.)

These two fabric prints from the Indie collection. Pretty rad, no?

These two recipes. Ah, Jamie Oliver, you are determined to get us to cook and some of your 15 minute meals look delicious (mitch has already made one and it was well good). When I get paid I'm going to have a go at one.

This illustrator. I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned Sandra Dieckmann on here before - her work is awesome and this is a sneak peak at her new stuff...

These two dresses -

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Story telling at Somerset House

Yesterday I ventured out into foggy London to take a wander around Tim Walker's photography exhibition at Somerset House. Now, I know nothing about photography and certainly nothing about fashion but I like looking at pretty things and will take advantage of any excuse to pop over to Somerset House! 

The exhibition is largely comprised of Walker's fashion photography shoots from established magazines such as Vogue. For me seeing them out of context, ie not on glossy A4 pages sandwiched between text and pages and pages of adverts, meant that the photographs were able to stand alone and tell more of a story (which I guess, judging by the exhibitions title, was the aim). Some of the 'stories' are particularly clever and quite fascinating - I really liked the 'Like a Doll' series of photographs shot for Italian Vogue featuring a giant doll. Which brings us to his props. The giant doll, a spitfire plane, jelly mould hats and more are all present at the exhibition, stationed near to their moments in the spotlight. Their presence hammered home the fact that the things you can see in Walker's photographs are real, in the loosest sense of the word, someone had to make, transport and position them for the final shot, they haven't just been dropped in using photoshop. The fashion shoot images are, on the whole, heavily dressed but beautifully so, and therefore contrast quite sharply with the portraits also present at the exhibition. However, although they are stripped back to contain just their subjects each one has been photographed in varying guises so that their portraits too tell a story. Look out for the remaining members of Monty Python, Helena Bonham Carter, Vivienne Westwood, Scarlett Johansson and Alexander McQueen. 

The last thing I wanted to mention was the accompanying moving image reel. Mostly shot on an 8mm camera, a collection of short films (approx 2 mins each) document a handful of Walker's photography shoots which for me provided even more depth, through a sort of backstory, to the images on display. The Monty Python one is amusing but it was the other more whistful and dreamlike sequences from the fashion shoots which really had an impact on me. (This film in particular. I want to go to outer mongolia. See more here and here.) If you do go to the exhibition don't be put off by the tiny little room containing the moving images bit, it fills up quickly but its only short and definitely worth a look, as is the entire exhibition. It was a lot bigger than I was expecting and showcases an interesting collection of surreal images to admire and absorb. Gloriously, this exhibition is free and open until the end of January, I highly recommend it.

If you go between now and Christmas you could also treat yourself to a skate on the ice - I've never skated at Somerset House but have always wanted to - it's such a picturesque setting! I've never seen these before, they're penguins which little kids use to stop them falling over whilst they're skating (shuffing) around on the ice - v.cute.

Monday, 12 November 2012


For the past 5 days or so I've been wrestling with a particularly nasty cold which came from NOWHERE. All was fine until I woke up on Wednesday feeling like, for want of a better word, sh*t. It had all the best things about a cold - bunged-up nose, the inability to taste anything, almost complete lack of voice, agonising sore throat and of course a genuinely disgusting hacking cough. Lucky old me. I also had to endure many of these symptoms during the weekend. Yes my weekend was, on the whole, spent in pjs on the sofa watching catch-up tv whilst regressing to a 7-year-old state with whines of 'it's not fair'. However, even though my saturday and sunday were a complete write off, I did get around to do doing some fun stuff.

I visited a watercolour artist at her house/studio in the week to interview her about her mostly miniature work. Her work was quite amazing, so detailed, yet you couldn't even see the brush stokes. It was a bit of an eye opener for me as I never knew you could achieve such tight paintings with watercolour. Turns out it's v.versatile! And the size of some of the paintings she showed me - 2.5 x 5cm! She was a a fascinating lady to talk to and I really enjoyed looking through her work. (It's times like these that I really do love my job and wonder whether I'll ever have such a great opportunity again. Probably not.)

This is one of Liz's paintings - I just wanted to give an idea of how small they can be - you can see more of her work here.

I also went to see the current exhibition at North London's (teeny) Gallery One and a Half: Horrorgami. The name comes from the combination of kirigami (art form of folding and cutting paper) and the subject of, you guessed it, horror. Former graphic designer Marc Hagan-Guirey has re-created 13 iconic buildings from some of America's most well known horror films, presented in various coloured light boxes. The buildings themselves are no taller than an A4 sheet of paper but are impressively intricate - so many cut out windows - but the best bits for me were the little details he included - the Ghostbusters' sign, the Addams' family car, 'mother' in the window of the Bates' residence, even an axe wielding Jack Torrance in the snow outside the Overlook hotel. It's only on until this Wednesday (14th) but it's well worth a look if you're around that area.

The Overlook hotel from The Shinning

The Ghostbuster's fire station with a close up of the car and sign

The iconic silhouette from The Exorcist 

The Monroeville Shopping Mall from Dawn of the Dead (complete with zombies)

Back at the flat, Mitch's beer was ready to sample, he's carbonated one of the batches and left the other. The result was rather good! We (Mitch) also put up the fruits of our Ikea shop - the picture shelf! Cue, photos and pictures being clipped into frames and put on display! We watched Perfect Sense, a film about the slow miserable end of humanity. How? you might ask. Everyone gradually looses all of their senses, one by one. The concept is both mind-boggling and devastating. Do not watch this if you're feeling a bit low or sorry for yourself. I actually cried quite a bit at the end. On a happier note, I also got around to doing some drawing (it's been a while) for one of this year's homemade christmas gifts.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

pumpkin soup

What with it getting seriously wintry over the last few weeks and the fact that I had half a pumpkin to make use of, I decided that it was time. Time for soup.

Makes 2 v.generous portions (or you can freeze it for a later date if you can't finish it all in two sittings)

What you'll need
one & a half onions finely chopped
half a pumpkin peeled, de-seeded and cut into chunks
salt and pepper
1 red chilli finely chopped
450 ml of vegetable stock
80 ml of double cream
  1. Fry the onions with oil in a saucepan on a low heat until they are soft but not browned. 
  2. Add the pumpkin chunks, increase the heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or burn. 
  3. After 10 minutes or so the pumpkin should be starting to soften, add the seasoning, chilli and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is v.soft. 
  4. Stir in the double cream and bring back to the boil.
  5. Ladle mixture into a blender (or use a hand blender if you've got one, I really should invest in one) and pulse until smooth.   
Enjoy with buttered toast or croutons.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

I finished my scarf!

As the title of this post suggests, over the weekend I finally finished knitting my first ever scarf! It's by no means perfect but I am quite pleased with it. It's taken me quite a few months to complete and there were about three occasions where I unravelled it (at various stages of completion) and started again – I think Mitch thought I was a little mad but it just wasn't working for me. Even though I had enough wool to make the scarf one colour I wanted to try changing colours and I didn't want it to be plain old garter stitch all the way through so I found a pattern online (yes I know, I do get a little over ambitious when trying out something new. It's actually more like impatience. What's that saying that comes to can't run before learning to walk...). Anyway, I really like the pattern (triangles, of course!) and I found it fairly easy to follow once I got the hang of it (experienced knitters, please forgive me for being an outright novice)!
Here's a close up of that triangle pattern
It's a big beast, I can easily wrap it around me twice. I think my next one won't be as huge. Yup that's right, there will be a next one. I'm thinking chevrons might be cool...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Tuesday's Tees - Fancy

5 fancy tees for when you feel like being a little bit smart...

washed twill tee - steven alan
eyelash lace shell top - topshop
garden lace tee - madewell
traced leopard - anthropologie
collette top - dear creatures (with a close-up of the fabric)

Friday, 2 November 2012

new york prep

I've found that the perfect way to channel my unrelenting excitement about my holiday, whilst at the same time add to it, is to watch lots of films and tv shows set in the great city itself.

So far we've watched: 

  • Ghostbusters (like I really need an excuse for this one) 
  • The Fisher King - a black comedy directed by monty python's Terry Gilliam
  • Taxi Driver - This was actually a first viewing for me and although I'm glad I've finally seen it I don't think I'll watch it again. Grim.
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's - this was also a first (don't judge me). I absolutely loved it, Audrey Hepburn is simply fabulous and v.funny too. I now totally understand what all the fuss is about, we should all make a fuss over Holly Golightly :)
  • Do the right thing - Spike Lee's fast-paced drama looking at racism and violence in a Brooklyn community. At times it made me laugh but the ending leaves a v.bitter taste in your mouth.
  • The Muppets take Manhattan - kinda predictable but who cares?! It's the muppets!
  • Sex and the City - how could any new york list not include it? I've started re-watching them from the beginning. Series 1 down so far - such terrible hair and lots of talking to the camera, quite glad they stopped that!
  • Elementary - I know, Sherlock Holmes doesn't live in New York and Dr Watson is a man. BUT, don't think about those points, think about this: I have no idea when the next series of Sherlock is going to grace our screens so, Johnny Lee-Miller jittering about (and occasionally taking his shirt off), solving the murderous conundrums of New York City with Lucy Liu in tow is a pretty good  substitute. JLM is a v.different Holmes to Mr. Cumberbatch and in some ways I prefer him, he seems a little more accessible and nowhere near as cold as old Cumberbatch...
  • GIRLS - I bloody love it. I think it's pretty much spot on humour-wise/content-wise and the soundtrack is damn good. (warning: a future post about how much I love this show is imminent)
That's the list so far and here's what's hopefully coming up: some Woody Allen, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Home Alone (especially with xmas on the way), An affair to remember. More suggestions are always welcome!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

time out part two

For the past two weeks I've been enjoying a stay-at-home holiday, here's part two of that!
I think I left off with the news that I was going to the theatre, and that's exactly what we did. Through Timeout (they have some seriously good offers on there) we managed to get to tickets to see One Man Two Guvnors at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Set in the 60s it follows the exploits of one man and all the amusing mishaps that arise when he starts working for two different guvnors. It took me about 5 minutes to get into it (and used to everyone's OTT cockney accents) after which I laughed A LOT, almost continuously. The play has a great script as well as perfectly timed/acted slapstick comedy and even a bit of audience participation (something I've not seen other than in panto). One of the best things about it was the music - between each change of scene a band (and some members of the cast) came out and sang a song. The actors were brilliant especially the main guy - can't recommend this play enough, it's a proper good laugh.

Mitch and I also went to see a couple of films at our beloved Ritzy, first off, Ruby Sparks. Lonely young author Paul Dano is suffering from writer's block when his shrink suggests he writes about his perfect girl. He does, and as a result quite literally brings her to life! Things are pretty peachy for a while, and to be honest I did wonder where the film was going to go at this point, but then something goes wrong (or rather doesn't go to Dano's plan) and it all gets a little bit dark when Dano realises he can make Ruby do anything he wants just by writing it. I won't say anymore about the plot but what I will say is that the concept is clever and the characters are great. Go see, go see!

We also watched Skyfall. My first experience of Bond in the cinema and only the third Bond film I've seen all the way through (the others being License to Kill - 80s Bond, Timothy Dalton in Jamaica with sharks and stuff -  and Golden Eye where Sean Bean is the bad guy, yeah). I'm not a Bond enthusiast nor a Bond hater, I'm fairly indifferent about him. I've seen clips from some of the other movies and he just comes across as a bit hammy/cheesy. However, the amount of hype surrounding this film was too big to ignore. So what did I think? It was entertaining, Daniel Craig looked good, Ben Wishaw made an appearance (never a bad thing), I spotted a couple of references to other films (star wars 6 and home alone - if you've seen it do you which bits I mean?), part of it looked like it was filmed on that abandoned island off the coast of Japan (which sparked a lot of interesting conversation after) and Javier Bardem made a good baddie. Saying all that, my favourite bit was the opening scene and the opening credits. I guess die-hard Bond fans will love all of it.

As well as mooching about in Brixton and enjoying leisurely brunches, we met up with friends, went jogging in the park and took a trip to Ikea to buy some frames - after a year of living in the flat I think we're finally ready to put up some pictures. I also took a trip to The Cloth Shop on Berwick Street to get some materials for new projects. And speaking of projects - I made this little elephant AND I've v.nearly finished my first-ever scarf! It just needs 12 more rows, a tidying of the loose ends and some tassels!

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